Lowitja (Lois) O’Donoghue is a member of the Yankunjatjara people of north west South Australia. She is an advocate for Indigenous rights and a former public administrator.
Ms O’Donoghue worked for the South Australian Government as an Aboriginal Liaison Officer and a Nurse Welfare Officer before moving into the Commonwealth Department of Aboriginal Affairs. She became the first Indigenous person to head a government office in Australia when she took on the role of Director of the Department’s South Australian office in 1975. She later served as the founding chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) from 1990 to 1996.
She was the first Australian Indigenous woman to be inducted into the new Order of Australia in 1976, in recognition of her work in welfare. She was awarded Australian of the Year in 1984 for her work to improve the welfare of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She was the first (and only) Indigenous Australian to address the United Nations General Assembly during the launch of the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Peoples (1992). She has received seven honorary doctorates and fellowships from various universities and educational institutes in Australia.
This collection was established in 2013, and includes documents, books, photographs and realia including honorary doctorate gowns and Sydney 2000 Olympics memorabilia.
Information on the contents of the Collection can be found in the UniSA Archival Collections, and digital copies of selected items can be viewed. For further information or access to the Collection, please email the Library Archivist.